Arsenal to avoid red mist

Chelsea's David Luiz (far left) will likely retain his place in central defence against Arsenal today, while team-mate Cesc Fabregas will be hoping that he is in the starting line-up after scoring a brace against Leicester City in the League Cup on T
Chelsea's David Luiz (left) will likely retain his place in central defence against Arsenal today, while team-mate Cesc Fabregas will be hoping that he is in the starting line-up after scoring a brace against Leicester City in the League Cup on Tuesday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Wenger ends talk of Mourinho animosity, urges discipline in today's Chelsea clash

LONDON • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger "certainly will not read" a book in which Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho is quoted as saying that he would break the Frenchman's face.

The book, the work of football writer Rob Beasley, claims that Mourinho threatened to "break Arsene Wenger's face" after reacting furiously to his bitter rival criticising Chelsea for selling Juan Mata to Manchester United in mid-season.

Mourinho regularly clashed with Wenger while managing Chelsea.

"I haven't read the book and I certainly will not read it. I cannot comment on that. I talk about football," said Wenger at his press conference yesterday, ahead of his side's Premier League match with Chelsea at the Emirates today.

"I'm not in a destructive mode, never. I'm more constructive. I am focused on Saturday's game against Chelsea."

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Mourinho described Wenger as a "voyeur" in 2005, after his rival questioned Chelsea's transfer policy. The Portuguese also referred to Wenger as a "specialist in failure" in February 2014 after the Frenchman said other Premier League managers were playing down their title chances because they "fear to fail".

Wenger, who apologised for pushing Mourinho during a 2-0 defeat by Chelsea in October 2014, said: "I have no personal problem with anyone, I respect everyone.

"What is amazing is that he (Mourinho) has nothing to do with our game tomorrow and I'm just focusing on doing well in my job. I will maybe make a book one day but I'm not ready for that yet."

Wenger celebrates his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager today against opponents who have caused him more anguish than almost any other team.

The Frenchman has won only five of his last 31 meetings against Chelsea and had his last major milestone - his 1,000th match as Arsenal manager - spoilt by a 6-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge.

Yesterday, Wenger urged his players to avoid being drawn into needless confrontations with their Chelsea opponents.

Arsenal were beaten home and away by Chelsea in the Premier League last season, and had three players sent off over the two games, with Chelsea's combative striker Diego Costa involved in two of the three incidents.

"In the last two games we played with 10 men so for the result tomorrow it's important the way we behave," the 66-year-old said.

Wenger, whose side have not beaten Chelsea in nine league encounters, urged his team to channel their emotions in the right way.

"Discipline and results are strongly linked - and the regrets we have from the last two games are that we couldn't play 11 v 11," he said.

Wenger confirmed that striker Olivier Giroud is back in training after a toe injury but midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has a hamstring injury, will not be back so soon.

Chelsea, whose previous Premier League outings were a 2-2 draw at Swansea City and a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool, go into the London derby buoyed by a 4-2 League Cup win at Leicester City.

But they will be without captain John Terry, who has failed to recover from an ankle ligament injury.

David Luiz, who started the past two games alongside Gary Cahill in central defence and despite Chelsea conceding twice in those matches, will retain his place.

"When we concede goals, all the team conceded, not just the defenders," Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said yesterday. "That means we must improve together to improve the defensive situation."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2016, with the headline 'Arsenal to avoid red mist'. Print Edition | Subscribe